Q&AZ: How Are HOAs Formed And Regulated?

By Claire Caulfield
Published: Monday, December 31, 2018 - 5:05am
Updated: Wednesday, June 10, 2020 - 11:53am

suburban houses with a rainbow
Justin Stabley/KJZZ
An Arizona suburb during a rainstorm.

About one third of Arizona’s housing stock is in a community association, which means almost two million Arizonans are connected a home-owners or condominium association.

KJZZ listener Michele wanted to know more about these associations, and asked via Q&AZ.

Most community associations are set up by the developers of the area, said Dawn Bauman, the senior vice president at the Community Associations Institute, a national trade association.

She said this can help take some of the pressure off localities.

“The locality kind of transfers the obligation to the association to serve the residents with some of the municipal services,” she said. “Things like beautification, trash removal, recycling, even maintenance of the sidewalks and lights and sometimes green areas.”

Most of Arizona’s laws related to community associations come from the Uniform Law Commission.

“It's a group of attorneys," she said. "They get together to create bipartisan, uniform legislation for states to adopt on various issues.”

Bauman said this group meets regularly to make changes and updates as needed and are open to feedback.

Arizona, unlike a handful of other states, does not have an ombudsman program for independently resolving disputes.

“But what we have found with these ombudsman programs is when the individual goes to their association, typically their problem is either resolved or there is a better understanding of why, they’re not getting what they want,” she said.

However Bauman said she is impressed with an Arizona law that she thinks helps avoid conflicts altogether.

“In Arizona, there is a comprehensive law that requires individuals who are selling their homes to provide the prospective buyer with a list of all the rules and regulations, she said. “And if they don't like the rules, they have an opportunity to cancel their contract.”

A recent survey found 90 percent of respondents said association rules protect or enhance their property values, and about 85 were said their experiences were positive or neutral.